As a freelancer, I am accustomed to working alone. I have close friends, professors and colleagues who I can turn to for specific questions, or perhaps to review a pitch, but I recognize that they are helping me because they care enough to support my career – not because we are collaborating together.
I’ve been freelancing for almost four years, and recently, I’ve found myself craving being part of a team. I miss having a dedicated editor who takes the time to teach me and correct my mistakes because he or she is invested in helping me grow as a journalist. I long for the excitement and buzz of a newsroom, where everyone throws out ideas at a breakneck pace and we all discuss those ideas together. I crave mentorship. Freelancing is amazing, and it teaches you how much you are capable of as an individual, but it can be lonely.
Upon our arrival to Medellin, the fellows sat down with fixers, translators and the IWMF team for our first planning meeting. As people began discussing their stories, everyone around the table jumped in. We were shouting out suggestions, making referrals, creating lists of ideas. The buzz and excitement felt as if we were a group of journalists working together to put out as many stories as we could. It didn’t feel competitive.
Rather, it felt as if we were all part of the same media organization working towards the same goal.
I’m eternally grateful for having the opportunity to work with, and collaborate with, the talented group of IWMF journalists, staff, fixers and translators on this trip.